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The new old Tokyo

The bright, racing, digital, 12 million person metropolis of Tokyo has gone all quiet and traditional. Tiny, obscured bars buried in dark alleyways behind nondescript doors are inviting small numbers of trusted patrons to quiet nights of reserved nightlife, and right now a word of mouth invitation to a small, basic bar is the hottest ticket in this technology-obsessed city. Recounted through a fine piece of travel writing Julia Chaplin of The Times strayed far from the well-trodden tourist grid and experienced the secretive, whispered nightlife chosen by Tokyo’s socialites and former party set. Embracing tradition and finding respite from an always-on connected lifestyle, Tokyo’s fashionistas, artists and designers are secretively guarding their new-found nightspots to enjoy quiet conversation and quality company in a more homely atmosphere than the more common western-style nightclubs and bars. A welcome change in Tokyo, the trend is unique in a global context – particularly in comparison to the fluorescent new rave invasion in London. [artwork by Hirofu ISO / Komainu]

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